Norman Bailey

Biography

Born: March 23, 1933; Birmingham, England  
During the 1960s and 1970s, this British bass baritone gained a significant reputation as a leading Wagner singer, imprinting both Wotan and Hans Sachs with his incisive, somewhat gritty timbre and penetrating musical sensitivity. While his voice lacked the plush luxuriance of earlier interpreters of these roles, its cleaving sound carried well and implied all of the authority demanded by the father of the gods on the one hand and the wise and Read more beloved master singer on the other. Bailey's Amfortas, as sung at Covent Garden, was another memorable interpretation, tortured in physical presence and colored with all the complexities of that anguished character.

Following studies at Rhodes University in South Africa, Bailey continued his musical training at the Vienna Music Academy, working there with such distinguished pedagogues as Julius Patzak, Adolf Vogel, and Joseph Witt. In 1959, he made his debut with the Vienna Chamber Opera in Rossini's one-act La cambiale di matrimonio, singing the bass role of Tobias Mill. The next year, he began an engagement at Linz. In 1963, he moved to Wuppertal and, from 1964 to 1967, sang at Düsseldorf. In 1967, Bailey began an association with Sadler's Wells Opera (later the English National Opera) that led him to international recognition. While his debut at the "second" London company was as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, it was his Hans Sachs that brought acclaim. Under the tutelage and baton of Reginald Goodall (largely overlooked by English opera companies until then), Bailey fashioned a sympathetic character, handsomely and untiringly sung. Not long after, introduced with a rather patronizing acknowledgement by Sir David Webster, Bailey stepped in to save a Meistersinger at the Royal Opera House, leaving critics wondering why he hadn't been engaged there in the first place.

The 1970s brought Bailey's Wotan in the ENO's famous English-language Ring at the Coliseum, subsequently recorded and made available once more in the new millennium. His Hans Sachs was heard in such other venues as Brussels, Hamburg, Munich, and New York. In the latter city, Bailey sang the role at the New York City Opera in 1975 and the next year, performed it again for his Metropolitan debut. Bayreuth, meanwhile, had also heard his Amfortas and Gunther.

As his fame spread, Bailey returned to some of the Italian roles he had sung upon his move into the baritone range in the 1950s and early '60s. For the English National Opera, he essayed Count di Luna and a few other such true baritone parts before returning to a mix of registers, singing Pizzaro and the Forester in Cunning Little Vixen (bass baritone) and Prince Gremin and Marshall Kutuzov (both bass roles). Bailey's artistic eclecticism led to his being selected to play Dallapiccola's Job for his La Scala debut in 1967 and to his singing Johann Matthys in the 1985 premiere of Alexander Goehr's Behold the Sun at Duisburg. In the 1990s, Bailey sang bass roles for Opera North (the Landgraf and Oroveso). His Glyndebourne Festival debut came in 1996 with an unforgettably seedy portrayal of Schigolch.

Although his voice was not especially phonogenic, Bailey recorded many of his best roles all under major conductors. With Solti, he committed his Hans Sachs and Dutchman to disc. His "English" Wotan under Goodall remains commanding, as does his title role performance in Tippett's King Priam. A Wotan's Farewell with Klemperer, however, finds both singer and conductor off form. Read less

There are 24 Norman Bailey recordings available.

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Biography

Born: March 23, 1933; Birmingham, England  
During the 1960s and 1970s, this British bass baritone gained a significant reputation as a leading Wagner singer, imprinting both Wotan and Hans Sachs with his incisive, somewhat gritty timbre and penetrating musical sensitivity. While his voice lacked the plush luxuriance of earlier interpreters of these roles, its cleaving sound carried well and implied all of the authority demanded by the father of the gods on the one hand and the wise and Read more
WORKS ALBUMS
TITLE/COMPOSER
LABEL
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, Act One, Introduction: Over hill, over dale (Fairies/Puck)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Oberon is passing fell and wrath (Fairies/Oberon/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Well, go thy way (Oberon/Puck)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: How now my love? (Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull (Oberon/Demetrius/Helena)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Welcome wanderer! ... I know a bank (Oberon)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Is all our company here? (Quince/Bottom/Flute/Snout/Starveling/Snug)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood (Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Through the frost have I gone (Puck/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Stay, thou thou kill me, sweet Demetrius (Helene/Demetrius/Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Come, now a roundel and a fairy song (Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: You spotted snakes with double tongues (Fairies)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: What thou seest when thou dost wake (Oberon)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Introduction
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Are we all met? (Bottom/Flute/Snout/Starveling/Snug/Quince/Puck)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: I see their knavery (Bottom/Tytania/Solo fairies)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Be kind and courteous to this gentleman (Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Hail! mortal, hail! (Solo fairies/Bottom/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: I have reas'nable good ear in music (Bottom/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: How now, mad spirit? (Oberon/Puck/Demetrius/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT THREE: Now the hungry lions roars (Solo fairies/Puck/Oberon/Tytania/Fairies)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Introduction
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Oberon is passing fell and wrath (Fairies/Oberon/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Well, go thy way (Oberon/Puck)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: How now my love? (Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Be it on lion, bear, or wolf, or bull (Oberon/Demetrius/Helena)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Welcome wanderer! ... I know a bank (Oberon)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Is all our company here? (Quince/Bottom/Flute/Snout/Starveling/Snug)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood (Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Through the frost have I gone (Puck/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Stay, thou thou kill me, sweet Demetrius (Helene/Demetrius/Lysander/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: Come, now a roundel and a fairy song (Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: You spotted snakes with double tongues (Fairies)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT ONE: What thou seest when thou dost wake (Oberon)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Introduction
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Are we all met? (Bottom/Flute/Snout/Starveling/Snug/Quince/Puck)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: I see their knavery (Bottom/Tytania/Solo fairies)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Be kind and courteous to this gentleman (Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: Hail! mortal, hail! (Solo fairies/Bottom/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: I have reas'nable good ear in music (Bottom/Tytania)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT TWO: How now, mad spirit? (Oberon/Puck/Demetrius/Hermia)
A Midsummer Night's Dream Op. 64, ACT THREE: Now the hungry lions roars (Solo fairies/Puck/Oberon/Tytania/Fairies)
Overture
"Hojoje! Hallojo! Ho! ... Kein Zweifel! Sieben Meilen"
"Mit Gewitter und Sturm aus fernem Meer"
"Die Frist ist um...Wie oft in Meeres...Dich frage ich"
"He! Holla! Steuermann"
"Durch Sturm und bösen Wind verschlagen"
Wie? Hört' ich recht?...Südwind! Südwind!
"Mit Gewitter und Sturm aus fernem Meer"
"Summ und Brumm, du gutes Rädchen"
"Du böses Kind, wenn du nicht spinnst"
"Johohoe! Traft ihr das Schiff im Meere an"
"Willst jenen Tag du nicht dich mehr entsinnen" (Kavatine)
Verloren! Ach, verloren!
"Erfahre das Geschick" - "Du kennst mich nicht, du ahnst nicht wer ich bin!"
"Du kennst mich nicht, du ahnest nicht"
Scene 1: Orchestral prelude
Scene 1: Weia! Waga! Wandering waters (Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: He, he! You nixies! (Alberich, Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: Slimy, slippery, slithery smoothness! (Alberich, Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: Look, sisters! The sunlight is greeting the gold (Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: What's that, you nixies ... ? (Alberich, Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: The world's wealth can be mine ... ? (Alberich, Woglinde, Wellgunde, Flosshilde)
Scene 1: Still not afraid? (Alberich, Flosshilde, Wellgunde, Woglinde) - Orchestral interlude
Scene 2: Wotan, my lord! Awaken! (Fricka, Wotan)
Scene 2: For I wished you faithful and true (Fricka, Wotan)
Scene 2: Then shelter her now (Fricka, Freia, Wotan)
Scene 2: Soft sleep closed your eyes (Fasolt, Wotan, Fafner)
Scene 2: God of light, light of spirit! (Fasolt, Wotan, Fafner, Freia)
Scene 2: To me, Freia! Back from her, giant! (Froh, Donner, Fafner, Fasolt, Wotan)
Scene 3: What help for me? (Mime, Loge, Wotan)
Scene 3: Better take care! Alberich's near (Mime, Wotan, Alberich)
Scene 3: What brought you here? (Alberich, Wotan, Loge)
Scene 3: In the clouds, you great ones (Alberich, Wotan, Loge)
Scene 3: All must stand in amazement (Loge, Alberich)
Act I: Prelude
Act I Scene 1: Wearisome labour! (Mime)
Act I Scene 1: Hoiho! Hoiho! (Siegfried, Mime)
Act I Scene 1: Well, there are the pieces (Siegfried, Mime)
Act I Scene 1: A whimpering babe (Mime)
Act I Scene 1: Much you've taught to me, Mime (Siegfried, Mime)
Act I Scene 1: I found once in the wood (Mime, Siegfried)
Act I Scene 1: And now these fragments (Siegfried, Mime)
Act I Scene 1: He storms away! (Mime)
Act I Scene 2: Hail there, worthy smith! (Wanderer, Mime)
Act I Scene 2: I sit by your hearth (Wanderer, Mime)
Act I Scene 2: What you needed to know (Wanderer, Mime)
Act I Scene 2: The fragments! The sword! (Mime, Wanderer)
Act II Scene 2: So he's no father of mine (Siegfried)
Act I: Prelude
Act I Scene 1: The storm drove me here (Siegmund, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 1: This house and this wife (Sieglinde, Siegmund)
Act I Scene 1: Evil fortune's never far from me (Siegmund, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 2: There he lay, feeble and faint (Sieglinde, Hunding, Siegmund)
Act I Scene 2: Through field and forest (Siegmund, Hunding, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 2: Friedmund no one could call me (Siegmund, Hunding, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 2: The Neidings raided again (Siegmund)
Act I Scene 2: So the Norn who dealt you this fate (Hunding, Sieglinde, Siegmund)
Act I Scene 2: I know a troublesome race (Hunding)
Act I Scene 3: A sword was pledged by my father (Siegmund)
Act I Scene 3: Are you awake? (Sieglinde, Siegmund)
Act I Scene 3: My husband's kinsmen (Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 3: Yes, loveliest bride (Siegmund, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 3: Winter storms have vanished (Siegmund), "Siegmund's Spring Song"
Act I Scene 3: You are the Spring (Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 3: Oh sweetest enchantment (Siegmund, Sieglinde)
Act I Scene 3: The stream has shown my reflected face (Sieglinde, Siegmund)
Act I Scene 3: Siegmund call me, and Siegmund am I (Siegmund)
Act I Scene 3: Siegmund, the Walsung, here you see! (Siegmund, Sieglinde)
Prelude
Act I Scene 1: That pretty girl I've been seeing in the city (Duke, Borsa)
Act I Scene 1: If a woman should happen to catch my eye (Duke)
Act I Scene 1: You're going? That's cruel (Duke, Countess, Rigoletto, Chorus)
Act I Scene 1: It's happened! It's happened! (Marullo, Chorus, Duke, Rigoletto, Ceprano, Borsa, Courtiers)
Act I Scene 1: I demand to see him (Monterone, Duke, Rigoletto, Borsa, Marullo, Ceprano, Courtiers)
Act I Scene 2: The old man laid his curse on me! (Rigoletto, Sparafucile)
Act I Scene 2: We are equals (Rigoletto)
Act I Scene 2: Gilda! (Rigoletto, Gilda)
Act I Scene 2: Ah, do not demand of one so sad (Rigoletto, Gilda, Giovanna)
Act I Scene 2: Oh, dear Giovanna, guard my daughter (Rigoletto, Gilda, Giovanna, Duke)
Act I Scene 2: Giovanna, I should have told him (Gilda, Giovanna, Duke)
Act I Scene 2: Love is the source of life, love is our sunlight (Duke, Gilda, Ceprano, Borsa, Giovanna)
Act I Scene 2: Gualtier Malde, you were the first to love me ... Dearest name of my first love (Gilda, Borsa, Ceprano, Chorus, Marullo)
Act I Scene 2: I have returned. But why? (Rigoletto, Borsa, Ceprano, Marullo)
Act I Scene 2: Softly, softly we move in to get her (All, Gilda, Chorus, Rigoletto)
Act III: I cannot think clearly (Gilda, Maddalena, Sparafucile)
Act III: Now for my vengeance, now the moment is ready (Rigoletto, Sparafucile)
Act III: He's there, murdered, oh yes (Rigoletto, Duke)
Act III: But who can be inside here? (Rigoletto, Gilda)
Act III: It's all my fault (Gilda, Rigoletto)
Act III: Ah, soon, in Heaven (Gilda, Rigoletto)
Act I: Prelude (Chorus)
Act I Scene 1: What is it, Nurse? (Hecuba, Nurse, Priam)
Act I Scene 1: Old man of Troy, you're welcome (Priam, Old Man)
Act I Scene 1: Then am I no longer mother to this child (Hecuba, Old Man)
Act I Scene 1: A father and a King (Priam)
Act I Scene 1: The Queen is right (Priam)
Act I Interlude 1: Thus shall a story begin (Nurse, Old Man, Young Guard)
Act I Scene 2: The bull is away over there (Huntsmen, Hector, Priam)
Act I Scene 2: They have taken my bull (Paris, Hector),
Act I Scene 2: Father, he's a shepherd boy (Hector, Priam, Paris)
Act I Scene 2: So I'd hoped it might be (Priam, Old Man)
Act I Interlude 2: Ah, but life, life is a bitter charade (Nurse, Young Guard, Old Man, Wedding Guests)
Act I Scene 3: Ah, ah ... (Helen, Paris)
Act I Scene 3: Divine go-between, that's who I am (Hermes, Paris)
Act 1 Scene 3: Lady Athene, if I honour you ... (Paris, Athene)
Act I Scene 3: Lady Hera, if I honour you ... (Paris, Hera, Hermes)
Act I Scene 3: Aphrodite, if I honour you ... (Paris, Aphrodite, Hera, Athene, Hermes)
Act II Scene 1: So you've given up fighting! (Hector, Priam)
Act II Scene 1: So Trojans honour Menelaus ... (Priam, Paris)
Act II Interlude 1: Hermes, Hermes, with the winged feet come quick! (Old Man, Hermes)
Act II Scene 2: O rich-soiled land (Achilles)
Act II Scene 2: Why are weeping, Patroclus? (Achilles, Patroclus)
Act II Interlude 2: O, O, what a threat to Troy (Old Man, Hermes)
Act II Scene 3: A hero in Achilles' armour ... (Hermes, Paris, Priam)
Act II Scene 3: All Trojans, all fought bravely (Hector, Priam, Paris, Achilles, Old Man)


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